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Servicemember Responses

SSG, US Army Viking 8



The Nelsens are simply a representation of what I know is common with OMN. Whether the names are familiar or not, it is in the smiles, the laughter that your organization truly gets the credit. I only wish you all could see first hand what I see every time mail comes in. We generally recieve mail about once a week, sometimes less, sometimes more. Regardless of how often we actually get mail here, the representation from your "troops" there in MN is unbelievable. At any given time, your packages account for nearly half of what was recieved. This is an unbelievable amount which can only be attributed to your organizations dedication. So from the Maintenance Section of the HHC 70th Engineer Battalion, and most assuredly from many others out here, thank you so much for what you wonderful folks do.

SGT Roger Spencer United States Army


Danyel
My name is SGT Roger Spencer, I have recently received a package with a hand written letter from you. First and foremost thank you for your respect and the kind gesture from the heart. There is always a good old fashioned welcome and thank you found in every one of your boxes your organization sends. Second, I would like to ask if you would defer your packages from me to one of my soldiers. He doesn't receive much mail, his name is SPC Janssen, Jacob. The address is the same as mine. I would like to give some history about myself and your organization. Your org has supported my battalions troops and many of my soldiers during my last two deployments. I have seen soldiers mentally wore down from being here, during christmas, and have no mail. I have seen the look in their eyes and the pep in their step from receiving a box from you all. It really is a joy to alot of soldiers to receive a box, not only for the goods but for the letters. I always enjoy receiving a hand letter myself, my grand mother once told me that a hand written letter means someone took their time out of their busy day to same something nice to you. I met several teachers from Minnesota that came to visit Ft. Carson, Colorado last year around october november time frame. They were members of Minnesota Nice. I was at the time in Master Gunner School for the M2A2 Bradley fighting vehicle which is a light tank. They came in and we sat down with them and allowed them to visit the combat simulators there on Ft. Carson. It was amazing to meet some of the faces that supported me and my fellow soldiers for many years. I am from southwest Missouri, down in the Ozarks, I am 24 will be 25 in October. I have been active duty army since 2005, and have been deployed for going on 3 years and 3 months out of that time. I have only been to Iraq, and have not be fortunate enough to join the fighting in Afghanistan. It is amazing how one individual can influence your life so much, you speak of your father deploying and being gone, I know that is a time of trial for your family. But we have a saying here Iron forges Iron. Thats what adapting to him being gone will do, you as a family will become stronger. That is truely amazing. You said you will be graduating college soon, I left in 2005 from college to join the fighting, at the time the wars were getting worse. I knew I couldn't live with myself the next thirty years knowing I didn't sacrifice for my country. I left my dorm, finalled out from the dean of students, and went to meps where I was re-assigned from the reserves to an active componet. Within two months I found myself in a bradley driving down the roads, in the heat. We all live separate lives but are often inter-connected, thank you for the letter. God Bless -

Richard Hyde


Greetings Mr. Douglas and Linda Krueger,
I received your care package and I am humbled and honored you thought of a lonely Soldier here in Afghanistan. I would ask that you pass along my many thanks to your family, friends, and community that allowed you to be able to bring a smile to not only my face, but the faces of the other Soldiers with whom I will be sharing these goodies with. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you all.

Michael


Dear Brandi,
How are you doing? I hope well and good. I just wanted to thank you very much for the package as well as the cards from the students. So I read that you are becoming a Elementary Teacher, that must be stressful or not on some days. Well good luck with that in the future. So your boyfriend joined the Army, so what made him decide to join? When does he graduate basic or did he already? Do you know what his job is going to be? Now a few more questions for you. How long does it take to study for a Elementary Teacher? Do you have a email address? If so it is a lot faster to communicate with each other. Well I don't know what else to write, besides thank you very much again. Tell the kids I liked their drawings, and so did my guys, should i just say some were really interesting, but I did love them and hope to hear from you guys very soon. Thank you,

LTC JIM McGOVERN


Lind and Doug
Thank you for the care package. The thoughtfulness to send a package such as that, means a lot. I have shared everything with my soldiers. I did keep the cross and the prayer card. Again, thank you for the thoughtfulness during the holiday season. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May you have a happy new year !

Eugene J. Moses 1SG


Ms. Merhar Ms. Moren
On behalf of the fine young men and women in the unit, I would like to take this opportunity to say "Thank You". Pleas extend our gratitude to all who helped out. The gifts were well received and appreciated. Just know that we will always be grateful for the offer of kindness you've shown us throughout this long and arduous 15 month deployment. As we prepare to depart the theater of operation, always know that your efforts brought hope when at times there was only despair, a sense of purpose when it seemed to have strayed and a bright smile to the the faces of tired, grungy, combat aged, young men and women serving so bravely. Thank you again, Sincerely,

Cpt. Brad C. Hanson


Dear MN Nice
Hello to all! My name is CPT Brad C. Hanson I am Company Commander of the 492nd Engineers out of Mankato. Thank you for all of the gifts, snacks, books, uniforms and everything. It is very much appreciated. I'm sorry it took me so long to write back but I'm very busy. I have soldiers in different parts of Iraq doing repairs and construction. I fly in helicopters once or twice a week to visit them. My soldiers are doing great things here, to make life more comfortable for American and Iraqi soldiers. Some of my soldiers are working with and training Iraqi soldiers, on how to build and repair buildings and roads. That includes electrical, plumbing, framing, roofing, bricks, concrete, flooring, lighting, and a lot of other things. The gift packages mean a lot to my soldiers. One group of soldiers is in a very isolated area. They have no stores to go to, they get mail once a week, they were very happy to get the gift packages. We also enjoy giving a lot of the candies to the Iraqi children. They come out and wave to us when we drive by their homes, in our convoys. It's very hot here it was 136 the other day, too hot to work in the afternoon. My soldiers like to start the day at about 4 in the morning, and then work till lunch. Then some times in the evening. We are looking forward to when it cools off and we can play ball and use our uniforms. I've met a lot of good Iraqi soldiers, made friends with them, and have been invited to eat dinner with them several times. Once again, I thank you and my soldiers thank you. DRIVE ON TROOPS- HOOAH!

Christopher J. Grose MAJ, EN O



I just wanted send a note of thanks to all of you at Minnesota Nice. I grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN and lived there for my first nineteen years before I joined the Army. I have now been away from Minnesota as many years as I was there. I have lived all over the country and all over the world. I am very proud to be from Minnesota and I have often described the state as one of the greatest places to live. I plan to come back to Minnesota when I finish my military service. I am part of the 70th Engineer Battalion currently stationed in Afghanistan and I see that many of my Soldiers receive packages from Minnesota Nice. I had never heard of the project as my deployments to Iraq I was a military member in a mostly civillian organization, but it's great to see it at work now. I send my heartfelt thanks on behalf of our outstanding American Soldiers for all of your support. Sincerely,

Army Colonel


Dear Mrs. Jorgensen
I am a soldier assigned to a mission here in Baghdad, Iraq for a year. Though combat operations terminated September of last year, as publicly announced, it is still one of the most dangerous places on the planet. The Post Card I received from your Operation Minnesota Nice allowed me to take a mental break from all that is going on around me and provided a moment of comfort and a reflection to the land that we so dearly love, the United States of America. I especially wanted to express my thanks for your organization's efforts to provide comfort for soldiers just like me, who are making sacrifices on behalf of our nation. The unit here collects mail and support boxes into one centralized area for all soldiers to partake. Each day I stop and randomly select a card and post on my wall in my office. As a senior officer my day is usually very busy, however, as my schedule permits, I take the time to respond back to the wonderful folks just like you who continue to show love, support and confidence in us, your military services. You make us proud to continue serving, regardless of danger or level of sacrifice involved. Please don't ever stop doing what you are doing, because it is not only reaching us, but also making a difference. Very Respectfully,


I was not aware that my NCO had put my name in the hat again at OMN, and so I was shocked to see my name on a package this time around. However, the package had a familiar name on it. I have already written and thanked Jorgen and Karla Nelsen, but I wanted to point out the attention these folks put into what they are doing. They are a wonderful representation of your operation and credit to all of you fine folks there in MN. If these two people can look through a list of hundreds of names and recognize a name from over a year prior, wow!


I have seen many things in my life and done a few good deeds through out my journey and one of the things I learned is that the good out weighs the bad and even tough there is a constant battle between good and bad sometimes it feels that everything we do is wasted away, but there are people that never give up, never complain, never seem to mind about how much time they spent to help others. To you and your group I say you have earned here on earth a place in our hearts, the goodness and the joy you bring it might seem for only a few minutes but are impressions you put in our souls. My friend never change and let no one tell you different you are beautiful and you are making a difference in a lot of people 's lives. I wish a merry Christmas and you stay safe too.

Ms. Jorgensen
This is the second deployment I have had the pleasure of seeing packages from your organization grace the hands of my fellow Soldiers. The first time, we all were in Iraq. We didn't know what OMN was at the time, it was due to a couple Soldiers in the battalion and their hard work that we started seeing that wonderful yellow sticker on the side of the postal boxes. This time, it was because the quick thinking of an NCO that got these packages rolling out here to us in Afghanistan. The mission is alot different, the faces have changed as well, but the spirit is still the same. These troops are out here to do what they must, do it professionally, and coming back to see that blessed sticker.


Good morning (time in Iraq), how are you Diane? My soldiers and I are doing good today, we are receiving packages from all kinds of families and organizations that have adopted us from MN, and for that I am grateful that we get to see and feel the support from our fellow citizens.


One of the things that I notice is when my soldiers get a letter or package I see how the rest of the day they are all smiles, I hope you understand that for us soldiers its not the package or the mail that lights up our day its just knowing that somebody somewhere in this world there is support for what we are trying to accomplish. Its not hard to be a soldier, as soldiers we are just doing our job but,there are heros out there that are not being recognized, as you probably heard this before the greatest sacrifice that is not recognized in this war is not us, its our families, the spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, sons, daughters, fathers and mothers that are willing to wait and have the patience and the endurance to hear the negative comments from other fellow citizens or the news yet they hang in there with good spirits just for us, and people like you that spend the time and the money to make somebody happy across the world. You people are the ones that are our heros and the ones that everyday make our lives happy regardless of the things we see here. I am going to send you a list of my company with names so you and your group can send what ever your heart desires, the letters or packages can be address to an individual. God bless you Diane you have a beautiful heart. You have a good day.


I can't express how much your support has meant to me over this last year. We hear so much about people that want the military home and out of here that it seems that they forget that we are still here and still need the support.


I got the care package in the mail today. Thank you so much, i adored it. I felt like u guys went the extra mile for me and i appreciate that, especially since u aren't obligated to. You guys have touched me and given me back my faith in humanity when i almost gave up. Thank you again, you made Iraq almost bareable.


THANK YOU FOR THE GIFTS . I GUESS I NEVER HAD ANYONE SENT ME GIFT S HERE. I DONT EVEN GET LETTERS FROM MY OWN FAMILY SENT TO ME . I DONT CARE THOUGH.. I KNOW GOD IS TAKING CARE OF THE VERY WELL. I HAVE NT SPOKE TO THEM SINCE LAST WEEK AND MY MOM LIKE TWO OR THREE WEEKS . SHE IS BUSY MOVING. I WORRY ABOUT THEM ABOUT HOW I COULD'VE DONE SOMETHING BUT I KNOW THINGS ARE REALLY TUFF SOMETIMES ON MY FAMILY SO I DON T EXPECT THEM TO SEND ME GIFTS. LIKE I SAID I WORRY ABOUT ME AND THEY WORRY ABOUT THEMSELF. I THANK YOU THOUGH IT REALLY FELT HEART WARMING AND I HOPE TO GET PICS OF YOU AND THE FAMILY. THE KIDS ARE LUCKY TO HAVE A GREAT MOM AND DAD LIKE YA.


Can't tell you how wonderful your boxes are for morale! Oh my Gosh! We are like little kids at Christmas attacking your box!! Everyone says "I love that" or "oh I love this!" About 12 people all received joy from your gift of love - Thank you so much!


I am so appreciative of your gratitude. People underestimate the way voicing their feelings and opinions could affect our morale. But when i see support from people like you it means the world to me and the soldiers that i know and work with. Thank you again for the package, and whatever else you can afford to send, if i can't or wont use it, i assure you i know another soldier who can. Thank you sooo very much you have completely lifted my spirits.


Just wanted to say Thank You again for the effort that you put into our Christmas here. It was almost like we weren't soldiers for a little bit. It was a feeling we all enjoyed and appreciated thank you.


Happy Thanksgiving by the way....i have a lot to be thankful for...and one of them is you...thank you soo much for helping me through my time in iraq....you will probably never know how much i appreciated that....you are really an amazing person jill.....i cant get over what youve did so selflessly...


In the darkness shines the light of an angel.


Hello my name is Daniel XXXXX, I am currently stationed in Iraq at Camp Taji. You do not know me but I believe that you know my commander, CPT XXXX. I want to take a little time to tell you THANK YOU for everything that you have done for us while we are out here. It is because of people like you that we know how much our work and sacrifices in Iraq are appreciated. I would also like to take a few more minutes of your time to let you know how some of the items that you have sent are being put to use. I know that you have sent us many packages that have been children focused with great items located inside them. We were working in a town in our sector named IJ, in this town there are lots of children that bring smiles to our faces. They are currently working on the school there and the kids welcome everything that you have sent. To be able to see the smile on a child�s face when you give them the opportunity to go back to school with paper and pencils is priceless, I wouldn�t trade that moment for anything in the world. I would also like to take a minute to Thank Operation Minnesota Nice the people there are truly the hero�s in this matter. To be able to give you a soldier�s name that is feeling a little down on our job and allow this soldier to receive some care packages from people at home that care is truly a great sight to see. With that I am going to close this letter and just remember everything that you do is very much appreciated and once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I would also like give you a special THANK YOU for the recent present of the gloves that you sent to us. Steve gave me the second pair and they are great THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


Thank you so much for what you are doing. I am having soldiers coming up to me all the time and thanking me for what you are doing. It is like Christmas every time that they get a package. This really means a lot to these Soldiers.


Thank you again , your care packages help keep us plugging along!!


On behalf of the entire unit, THANK YOU!!! We are truly blessed to have caring citizens like you to organize Operation Minnesota Nice, and so many kind people who donate to strangers through OMN. I wish you continued success with your outreach program, and may you be encouraged to know that there are many grateful people returning home this month.


I just received a box from you and thank you so much. It is really nice to see ppl back home doing something for the troops in the holiday season. Please let your husband know that I would like to thank him for his service in Vietnam not enough people say thank you to the soldiers in that war. YOUR COOKIES KICK WELL I THINK U KNOW. WOW they where good I ate all of them the first day. haha u found my weakness and you are a good baker.


Thank you so much for what you do through Operation Minnesota Nice. You and your fellow Minnesotans are really making a difference in the morale of our soldiers. The knowledge that someone, particularly a stranger, is investing time and money in each of us really makes the soldiers feel appreciated. Particularly in these times when the war is unpopular with many people and the objective is unclear to some, kind gestures from others to acknowledge the year's sacrifices have made even our biggest frowners smile upon receiving a box.


We are coming home safe because of you. Not me.....YOU! I can only train and mentor them to fight in combat. You provided them with hope. You gave us the presence of mind to know that someone back home cares. It has been a long year for us. We are fatigued mentally and physically. But I wish you could see the joy in my men's faces. As they talk of how someone from OMN mailed them a card or box of goodies. I can't give them that; only you can, and you did. You are, truly, a great American. Please express to everyone on your team and staff how grateful I am for your contributions. I can't begin to imagine what life would have been like without OMN, nor do I want to know.


My name is Matthew and I am writing you to thank you for your care packages. my soldiers and I love receiving them. they brighten up our days, I encourage you to continue to do your work for the soldiers that will be taking my place... take care and God Bless


Hi I just wanted to write and tell you how much it means to know that people out there care about what my husband does. It has meet the world to him to receive the packages from your group. Tim has been in the army for 18 years this is his 2ND deployment to Iraq it has been really hard on him to be away from all of his family. His day just gets better when you receives a gift from you and he knows that people are thinking about what he has to do and they care. I just wanted to tell you Thank you again for your support and to keep up all the wonderful work you are doing. It makes a big impact on all the lives of all the soldiers who receive your gifts it tells them that they matter and someone cares about them. Thank you.


I think it is really great you are taking the time and money to make our stay here a little easier. To let you and the other people that send us boxes know that it is a great up lifter of spirit to get the boxes. I have a lot of fun opening the boxes and finding out what you put into them, the scratch offs are so much fun (thumbs up for the idea!!)


I just want you to know that I am so thankful that you are helping Steve & all the soldiers of the 70th Engineer Battalion! They all loved the girl scout cookies you sent. Of course they're not all eaten up yet, but they put sure have put a dent in them, so to speak. I am so grateful to have a friend like you who is giving so much of your own time and energy to help him out. Let alone all the other soldiers you're helping out in all the planning and organizing of the fundraisers and packaging parties. You are truly one of a kind.


Hello! I would first like to apologize that it has taken me this long to reply to you. I am so glad that you sent me your email address so that I could thank you for the care packages that you have sent. I am the world's worst about sitting down and writing letters. This is a lot easier for me. We are on the backside of our second deployment to Iraq, and hopefully we will be home before the Super Bowl this year. It has been a long 8 months so far in Iraq, but at the same time it has went by quickly because of the operation tempo that we have had. A lot of what people see in the media doesn't show the good things that go on around here. They never mention the Blackhawk helicopters that fly over and drop soccer balls to the awaiting children below. I very rarely see on the news American soldiers shaking hands with locals as we do often, and you only occasionly hear about the schools and hospitals that we have help to build so that the Iraqi population can get back on their feet. So rest assured that our mission here is not in vain. Yes we have an enemy here, and we take the fight to the enemy when we have to. But that is only part of our mission in winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. You have asked what I would like to receive in the packages that you have sent. Well I am not a very picky person, so anything that you send will be great. I enjoy the Conservation Volunteer magazines that you have sent, and love the fruit punches that have come with the packages. If I had only one request it would be more reading material. Anything such as Popular Mechanics or Popular Science that you see laying around other peoples home would be wonderful. Once again thank you for what you are doing in supporting this fight on terrorism. I look forward to hearing from you very soon.


Hi this is Emily. I would like to tell you what my husband said, my husband is the 1sg with the HHC, and he said thanks to you and the program, the soldiers morale is definitely boosted and they are constantly receiving mail and boxes with words of encouragement and ww would basically like to say thanks.~Emily


Hi, I'm Michelle...the one you sent a couple care packages to. I just wanted to say thanks so much for the support, it means more than you can imagine. I must say, the milk was a great idea. The only milk we get here is from goats. Needless to say, I don't drink it...


Your treats were divine and the movies entertaining. So you are part of the MN Nice prgram huh? That is really cool of you. You have been a realy blessing to all of us and especially our stomachs. We have a tiny base out in the middle of no where actually. As foar as our free time goes we watch movies and eat licorice and giummi bears. Movies are always a sure winner if you are ever wondering what you can send. They would have to be dvds though seeing as how all we have is small portable dvd players that can hook up to a tv. And everyone knows that nothing goes better with movies than licorice and gummi bears hehehehe. Well I have to get going now, 14 hour shifts don't leave a lot of free time. But I wanna thank you again for all you have done and I am very grateful.


Hello!! I recently received a care package in the mail....which is unusual because I never get mail....so I was like....I don't know these people....what is going on! MAIL! Whoo hoo! I wanted to say thank you very much. I don't think that is good enough. Ok...I don't have the words to thank you for the care package, it was really really cool!


CAN'T SAY HOW MUCH YOUR CARE PACKAGES HELP OVER HERE. SO THANKS FIVE TIMES OVER FOR THAT.


Thanks, for taking time out of your busy day to keep my spirits up!

Denise
I can't repeat enough , how in awe I am of you and your adoptees ! When reading your kind words of me, a thought went through my mind I wanted you to pass on to the other adoptees. Just as my mothers heart is touched by those helping where I am not able to do so, each and every one of those soldiers they have adopted, is someones son, brother, or husband. They are bringing peace and love to many more hearts than just mine or their soldiers!

Dear Mrs. Albertson & Family,
How are you all doing? I hope good and well. I just wanted to thank you very much for the package that you sent me. Everything inside the package was great and very useful. Sometimes I just wish that there would be more people like you and your family, that would take a service member under their wing, because believe it or not getting a package or a letter from back in the states is a very big morale booster. Ok, now my turn to tell you a little bit about myself. I am 26 years old, and about to turn 27 in January. I am happily married for 5 years now to my wonderful wife Ivelisse. I still don't have any kids, and the main reason is that my wife right now is attending college, and I also believe she is trying to get her degree in Medical Administration. I am stationed out of Jacksonville, NC at Camp Lejeune with 2nd CEB (Combat Engineer Battalion), so just like your son I am also a Combat Engineer. Now in your letter you said that he will be training for a UAV Specialist. Now doest that fall under this MOS (military occupational service) or is that just some special training. I have been here in Afghanistan for about 2 1/2 to 3 months and have about another 4 to go "hopefully not longer." I just left this place this June of 2009 and when I got back to the states I found out that I had to come back 3 1/2 to 4 months later, and sure enough here I am. Last deployment was a little rough, and since we had such a short time back in the states. Our job over here is teaching. It is not bad but all I do is stay on the base and that get's old really fast. Just like the movie "Ground Hog Day!" LOL. Well enough said for now, because it feels like my hand is about to fall off. Thank you again very much and hope to hear from you soon. P.S. Here is my e-mail just in case you have to write to many reports LOL :D


I am station here in (Toji - I think I can't read his writing). I have recently received your package and truly appreciate your support . People like yourself are one of the best things soldiers have over here. I just wanted to make certain you knew how appreciative I am for your selflessness.


The purpose of any package sent is apparent in an email received from Ben, and also what he mentioned in our conversation today. Being in contact with Denise, he has relayed to the "guys" they will be receiving packages from complete strangers. Not having received their packages yet, but knowing they're coming, the soldiers walk with a lighter step, heads held a bit higher, and smiles more often than usual. When they leave base, they leave prouder and more confident, knowing people they don't know are thinking of them, and care enought to spend their hard earned money on "little old them.


It brought tears to my eyes to know people care so deeply out there. It's true what Ben says....People do get so busy in their lives, they don't always take the time to acknowledge things that are easy to walk on past.


Didn't expect all that but this is just great. moral levels should come up, (they did last time) smiles on several faces. I don't think people know, when we get motavating packages in the mail like that we leave the base feeling prouder than we did the day before, not forgotten, full of pride, we feel like a respected soldier. people we don't know send us stuff to make it better ( for the most part it isn't about the stuff, it's the fact that we still have support.) so thanks a bunch for all of that.


Just want to let you know right away what your doing is by far the best thing any old friend, or person for that matter has done for the guys and myself. See smiles when we roll out on mission again, it's like we all have something to look forward to. Kind of weird guys keep smiling at me when I come around, (starting to think there gay.) Just want to say thanks.


I want to thank you with all of my heart, For your support and worries, Especially the prayers. thank you also very much for the gifts.

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